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Biotech Patents Science

Patent Trolls In Biotechnology 50

Posted by timothy
from the just-wait-'til-they-patent-mitosis dept.
GNUman writes "A news story in this week's Nature Journal talks about patent trolls attacking biotech companies. They cite a case in which the U.S. federal court of appeals upheld 'a patent that covered the idea of trying to link infant vaccination with later immune disorders.' The news story also references an interesting article from researchers at Boston University School of Law (Bessen, James E. et al, 2011, 'The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls'), in which they analyze the effect of litigation on the wealth of the defendants via their stock's value before and after litigation, and given that such loss minimally translates into an increment in the wealth of the inventor, they determine that patent litigation harms society and removes incentives for innovation."
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Patent Trolls In Biotechnology

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  • Patent litigator harm society and remove incentive for innovation?!!! That goes against everything I've ever heard about the patent process!!! Why would our government allow such a thing to be?

    • by jc42 (318812)

      Patent litigator harm society and remove incentive for innovation?!!! That goes against everything I've ever heard about the patent process!!! Why would our government allow such a thing to be?

      Well, now; it appears that you fell for that old bit of social propaganda.

      Anyone who has actually read any of the many histories about patent (and copyright) law understands quite well that the intent from the start has been to block any profits that might be gained from innovation. Or even better, divert the profits to lawyers and government agencies.

      Where did people ever get the silly idea that patents encourage innovation? Why would anyone believe such a claim, when all our experience is the oppos

  • why we are letting the government allow patent trolls to exist? They are a leech to the tech and innovation world. Here's a thought, you can only have claim in court to a patent infringement if you currently have or have significant evidence of working on a product that uses that patent. This would get rid of patent trolls that just sit on patents to sue people and companies.
    • by watermark (913726)

      What about universities that do research? Many widely used technologies came from university R&D and most of them have no intention of actually implementing what they're researching. I think the issue is more with what can be patented and how long items can be patented.

      • I meant my comment to pertain more to the private sector and not the public sector like schools and government agencies like NASA.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        What about universities that do research? Many widely used technologies came from university R&D and most of them have no intention of actually implementing what they're researching.

        The question then is, would that research otherwise have been done by a company which _was_ intending to make use of it?

      • by sjames (1099)

        Quite commonly they become significant stockholders in a new or existing venture to further develop and put the patent into production, so they aren't non-practicing.

      • Aren't most college and university R&D discoveries released to the public? I always thought that state funded schools discoveries became the property of the people who fund those schools, ie, the taxpayer. Am I living in a dream world, or what?

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Because large corporations are less vulnerable to patent trolls than small organizations. This creates a barrier to entry for that market, entrenching the large corporation. Since our government is wholly owned by large corporations we get the kind of law that benefits large corporations.

  • I wonder if all those polling companies (Gallup, Rasmussen, etc...) have their ducks in a row, because I'm about to go medieval on their asses.

    "Process for the use of inquiry to determine prevailing public opinion on a manner of issues relevant to the interests of various media interests including but not limited to advertisers, news agencies, and political organizations."

    Pay up, bitches.

    • by jd2112 (1535857)

      I wonder if all those polling companies (Gallup, Rasmussen, etc...) have their ducks in a row, because I'm about to go medieval on their asses.

      "Process for the use of inquiry to determine prevailing public opinion on a manner of issues relevant to the interests of various media interests including but not limited to advertisers, news agencies, and political organizations."

      Pay up, bitches.

      There is prior art for that. Better add "using a communication netwok" or "using a mobile device" to your patent application.

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @03:37PM (#37558112)
    You know, it's one thing to troll companies and other entities who's sole purpose is to make money off the backs of customers, but this is just...ugh...
    • by FunPika (1551249)
      Meh, no one will bother to do anything until someone influential actually dies due to patents hindering the innovations needed to save their life. Yeah that will take awhile, in the mean time Congress will do nothing when the more likely event of some random person who is lower/middle class dies due to patents.
  • Monsanto anyone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxwellmath (2453528)
    I believe that monsanto might be considered under the category of biotechnology. They are the biggest patent troll I know of; holding patents on life its self.
    • Re:Monsanto anyone? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @04:06PM (#37558522) Homepage

      Most notably, Monsanto has sued farmers because their crops (which were not Monsanto seeds) reproduced with pollen blown in from the neighbor's farm. Apparently, patent law trumps laws of nature, at least when it comes to assessing damages, because Monsanto has won those cases.

      This despite the farmer's counterpoint that Monsanto's terminator gene was contaminating their crop, quite against the will of the farmer.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      They're not really a patent troll - they actually make the stuff they patent.

      A patent troll is somebody whose main business model is collecting license fees from things that OTHERS do, largely because they filed a patent on something that is easy to put into words and hard to put into practice.

      You don't have to agree with Terminator Genes and all that stuff, but the fact is that they actually do make that stuff and you can buy it from them if you want it.

      No, a patent troll is the guy who sues you for playin

      • by sjames (1099)

        Monsanto isn't a troll, but they have a number of troll like trait such as laying claim to seeds they didn't produce and that weren't produced through GM techniques.

        Otherwise, their brand of evil has other names.

  • Is he claiming to have caused Immune Disorder diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis? If not I say we give him credit for creating them for getting such an absurd patent.
  • I'm going to patent the concept of patenting vague things that can't be possibly invented yet, much less by my company and/or self. this way i will get loyalties every time one of these trolls files such a patent. further, the patent will include the concept of sueing those who actually manage to create the concept so that i get to skim a little of the top of each lawsuit :)
  • The news story also references an interesting article from researchers at Boston University School of Law (Bessen, James E. et al, 2011, 'The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls'), in which they analyze the effect of litigation on the wealth of the defendants via their stock's value before and after litigation, and given that such loss minimally translates into an increment in the wealth of the inventor, they determine that patent litigation harms society and removes incentives for innovation."

    They fi

  • It should be noted that the CAFC case mentioned above was narrowly confined to the issue of patentable subject matter under 35 USC 101. The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings concerning enforceability relative to prior art (among other things). The defendant was hoping for a quick and cheap resolution, but it looks like that won't happen in this case.

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